Spinach with ginger and currants
This dish could be made ahead and reheated in order to save stove space. If reheated the spinach will be more wilted than if served fresh from the pan.
- 1 stovetop burner spot (a large one if your stove has large and small burners)
- Large sauce/frying pan
- Large chef’s knife (8+ inches)
- Large cutting board
- Cooking tongs
- Paper towels
- Large plate
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Small bowls x2 (for measuring)
- Metal bowl (or other material that can handle hot bacon grease)
- Medium serving bowl
- 1 pound bacon (ideally more meat than fat)
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger (powdered)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound baby spinach
Measure out currants into first small bowl.
Measure out spices into second small bowl.
Cover the plate with a pair of paper towels.
Cook bacon until crispy.
Turn off heat and remove bacon to paper towel plate.
Pour bacon grease off into metal bowl.
Wipe down the side of your pan after pouring off bacon grease. You do NOT want to start a grease fire when you put your pan back on the stove in a couple of minutes. This can happen on gas or electric stoves.
Measure 1/4 cup bacon grease from metal bowl.
Pour this 1/4 cup bacon grease back into the pan.
Let the bacon cool and then dice it.
Turn burner heat to medium.
Add spices and stir to bloom the flavor into the oil.
Add spinach and toss in the pan with tongs immediately, trying to get as much of the spinach into contact with the hot grease and the pan surface as quickly as possible.
The ideal goal is “wilted” spinach rather than “cooked to mush” spinach but it’s great either way. Once the spinach begins to change texture and take up less space (a lot less, typically rather quickly), it’s done.
Add the bacon and re-toss one more time.
Serves best hot, can be served warm.
Don’t pour bacon grease down your sink! Once it’s cooled you can put it in the trash. If you don’t know why, you can look up the term “fatberg” but don’t look while eating.
This is based off this redaction of a 16th century German recipe with some changes to our tastes. Adding sugar to such a dish may seem strange to modern palates but sugar was added to many savory dishes in the late medieval and early Renaissance. This was initially true for dishes that were being served to show off one’s wealth when refined sugar was rare and expensive. In the 14th century, such dishes were often finished with sugar strewn on top. Later, in the 16th century, as refined sugar became more available, it was used more in the cooking of these dishes. Our modern distinctions between sweet dessert dishes and savory main course dishes did not really exist at the time.